CARSON, Calif. – The city of Carson has approved an ordinance that would outlaw bullying for residents as young as five-years-old
The ordinance would target anyone from the ages of 5 to 18 who makes another person feel “terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested (in a way) that serves no legitimate purpose. First-time offenders could be ticketed for an infraction and fined $100.
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On the surface, protecting vulnerable children from bullying seems like a noble effort. But great danger lurks just underneath the surface.
The freedom of speech and expression, guaranteed by the First Amendment, is perhaps our most valuable freedom, and it’s greatly threatened by laws like the one in Carson. Think about it. Under the ordinance, anything anybody does to make another person feel “terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed or molested” would qualify as a crime. That could be just about anything, depending on how sensitive the “victim” is. What if my neighbor has a Hillary Clinton for President sign in her yard, I put up a Rand Paul sign, and she calls the police, saying her sign was up first and I am harassing her by putting up mine.
Anyone can feel frightened, intimidated or threatened by just about anything, depending on their view of the world. That means the city of Carson will have the power to outlaw just about any form of speech or expression that might bother someone. And the local government will reserve the right to determine what form of speech serves a “legitimate purpose” and what doesn’t. If this doesn’t scare you, you do not understand our Constitution or the value of the Bill of Rights. Nobody in their right mind would give government that kind of power.
Authored by Steve Gunn